7 November 1997

Salmonella

bug blame

LIVESTOCK farmers are to blame for the rising numbers of salmonella typhimurium cases in humans.

So claimed Bernard Rowe director of the enteric pathogens lab for the central public health laboratory.

Dr Rowe told a meeting discussing antibiotics in milk at Leatherhead Food Research Association that incorrect administration of antibiotics – particularly to calves – was a major factor in the bugs increasing resistance to antibiotics.

The bug is, therefore, able to progress through to food products unchallenged and the number of salmonella typhmurium cases – which leads to hospitalisation in 40% of cases – is increasing.

He suggested that the reason for this is the overuse of antibiotics in cattle husbandry and that these drugs were often used as a cover for poor hygiene on farms.

But director of National Organisation of Animal Health Roger Cook said that diseases had to be dealt with on farm to prevent pathogens reaching the food chain.n